In extra time…

It’s called ‘bonus’ or at least is should

because this wasn’t expected, nor

should have been; I’m Irish and male,

for the sake of Saint Patrick, and

I should be dead by now but I’m not

and that makes this a true bonus;

I’ve outlived my own father who

saintedly passed before fifty years,

and all his friends it seems, or so

I read in the obituaries in Sunday’s

Chicago Tribune as I scan the pages

in a sobering ritual of paying homage;

now it’s only a matter of what to do

with these extra days and years.


Life in a drawer…

Junk-Drawer-740x515I have this box into which all
odds-and-ends are sent to linger
and accrue value as mementos
until either called upon in the
rebirth of usefulness or muse or

discarded in the cleaning called
spring; clips, cuffs, children’s
lost teeth even, my father’s
gold pen, a large button from my
favorite coat once upon a time,
a too-fashionable tie bar, birthday
cards from my mother – all dated,
all Hallmarks, with special words
underlined for personalization (a
habit I picked up and enjoy being
mocked about by my children),

there are those tiny school photos,
three wallets worn with credit card
numbers still impressed in the
leather, a comb bent to the
shape of my posterior still; there’s
a mood ring that’s always black,
and a torn dollar bill that will
never be mended, an 1928 coin

from Ireland, collar stays, even
a slip of paper with 14R-08L-11R
in faded pencil from my high
school locker before I dropped
out, and there’s a pencil, yellow,
No.2, but just a stub with some
eraser remaining and it’s the only
thing without a reason to be in this
box, or at least a reason I recall.

There are places…

The world is a big place
with people scattered everywhere
divided by space,
separated by things which differ
to make us feel better
about living lonely lives,
telling ourselves
everyone is sad, but

in some remote place to us
others are home
with favorite things
so ordinary they aren’t noticed,
birds and bugs
and a bush no one else knows,
a monster of sorts,
wild and untamed,
with berries

warmed by the sun
staining children’s fingers
testing the difference
between sweet and sour
because the world is such a big place.

Oh Amelia…

ameliaLike Amelia at the last
I’m running north and south
searching vainly for my Howland;
it seems I’m lost, again
on an adventure unnecessary
but just too good to pass up
too wild to ignore
too irresistible not to try;
just one more good flight
tracing oceans through storms
darkening the helpful daylight
listening for a beacon
calling just for me, I hope,
inviting anonymously
no one else but me
but I haven’t heard it yet;
so lost I will remain,
always aflight, always
romantically astray,
hopelessly missing the obvious
for what is even more so.

Is omneity even a word…

Imagine the memories of pain and hurt,
discomfort, disappointment and sorrow
didn’t just dissolve as they tend to, but
were stored-up, like a single collection
which stayed with you – a pool of tears,

embarrassments, losses, frustrations
and fears teaming with every dread,
every haunt of what has ever happened
and harmed the hope of comfort and
confidence that all’s well with the world

or at least tolerable; sure, some do
linger but the sting eases away somehow
and recollections fade, or else the
assemblage of broken bones, cuts
and bruises, stubbed toes and loves
lost would crush you, as poverty ruins
through an abundance of nothing;
there’d be no hauntless nights, not a

single pleasant day, courage would be
ridiculed and driven to despair by the
burden of history repeating itself
because our crimes against humanity
are as simple as living through it all;

so consider it a mercy to lack a sense
of permanence like an infant puzzled
by an object hidden, taunted with the
Where did it go? game we all play
and bless the benevolent omneity for
the freedom to forget, if not forgive.

One hundred pockets…

Nietzsche_1882-59d83beeaad52b0010eb91ccIf a man has a great deal
to put in them,
as Friedrich would say,
a day will have a hundred pockets;
and that’s another way
of saying it’s up to you,
the day, that is,
life, that is,
to acquire what may be
known, what may
be enjoyed,
with an appetite insatiable,
to possess but not deny,
for knowing is not
a zero sum game of have
and have not,
but an unending feast for the starving,
and we are all, always,

Once upon a time we died…

I am accused of
having a preoccupation
with death,
the dead,
the anticipation of dying
(which we call birth),

bereavement intrigues me,
hospice and palliative care
I consider bemusing,
even amusing at times;
death and what it means
and doesn’t mean
who it involves
(which is every single
last one of us,
no matter how much
we ignore it, which we do,
we all do),

but death waits for no man,
or woman,
or child apparently,
so before I could
invite it in for a drink,
a conversation,
it chose me,
when I was just a boy,
disguised at first,
but today bold and sociable,
yet never
on my terms,

and that’s how it all began
and that’s how it all will end,
and I’ll admit
the accusation has a ring
of truth to it.

Apocalyptic dumb luck…

apocalypseEnough will be enough,
when it is what it is;
no doubt about it
this time,
no great disappointment
or Julian recalculation,
no more merciful delay,
only tribulation
for those left behind
having ignored
the apocalyptic signs;
I will probably not
be ready;
maybe sleeping
or even worse, napping,
or indisposed
or picking my nose
when the trumpet
shall sound like
a jazz tone,
an archangel squeal,
while the clouds will
have that look
of sharp, bright rays
beaming through,
opening up heaven
at the end of days;
and one
date-setting schmuck
will finally be right
by sheer,
dumb luck.